The days of your employees and staff working 100% percent of their work lives under the same roof are gone.
You might have a few employees who DO primarily work in one place, but the Coronavirus crisis has taught us all a few lessons about being prepared for your staff to not work in your office or building, all the time.
Work from home (WFH), or remote working, is something every business needs to consider due to the Coronavirus, and luckily there has never been a better time for remote working to happen given the number of technology tools available.
WFH has a myriad of benefits:
- It’s good for the environment, decreasing your environmental footprint.
- The freedom of working from home can make employees happier and more productive.
- It can be less costly with less physical infrastructure to pay for, manage, and maintain.
- It’s great for Human Resources (HR) and those involved in hiring because it opens to possibility of hiring great talent from around the country, instead of limiting yourself to a certain radius of your corporate offices.
Like anything, there’s a few things that need to happen in order to make your WFH policies a success.
Work-from-home policies need to come from the top
The decision to embrace a remote working culture needs to come from the top of your company.
If you as a manager, CEO, or business leader don’t believe in it, it won’t be successful.
On top of that, your policies and procedures need to be in place to support it, remembering that each department may have different requirements and needs when working remotely.
That said, there are a few myths we at Cooperative Systems want to dispel as part of the work from home dynamic.
Myth #1: Employees who work remote don’t get as much done as their on-site counterparts.
It’s true that workers can slack off if not managed properly with the right expectations but this can also happen at their desk in your physical office. The best way to ensure your workers are working is to engage with them, set times for daily calls and stand ups, and make them feel valuable to the company. We highly recommend Microsoft Teams or Slack for instant chat and video communication between all your remote team members. Teams can also be used in collaboration like file sharing, project management, and storing of company documents in One Drive.
Myth #2: Fear of remote workers feeling undervalued.
This goes back to something from the previous myth where remote workers may feel undervalued or anxious about how their efforts are perceived in the office. Offering the freedom of work from home to everyone who can feasibly work remotely would be a good step to resolving this as it’s then normalizes it inside your business and organization. This will allow your remote workers to feel less judged or anxious about what their coworkers think.
Myth #3: Working from home will dilute our company culture.
The notion that your company culture will somehow become diluted or negatively impacted just isn’t true. Your company culture can be wrecked no matter if your team works remote or not. Work from home policies can boost your culture morale, get people excited about working for you, and create a fun, productive environment using technology. Video meetings over Microsoft Teams and Zoom are great for employees to get the interaction they need by talking with their peers. It can also be an advantage in productivity as someone can’t just walk up to their desk while they’re working and distract them with water-cooler conversation. Distractions are known to reduce productivity and it can take up to 20 minutes to get back into their grove. It’s important for staff who work from home to communicate over Microsoft Teams in order to make friends with their peers, see who’s a cat lover, and learn about who likes coffee or prefers tea. You’ll have to be diligent in having morning meetings where you take a few minutes to talk, review the goals of the day, and create synergies.
Myth #4: Work from home won’t work for us because we don’t have the right technology.
We understand why you’d feel this way, but this is the easiest of all the myths to overcome when debating to move your workforce remote or not. There are definitely some technology pieces you have to get right. Your remote workers need to have the proper hardware like laptops and peripherals like keyboards, etc. You’ll also want to make sure you’re prepared with the best broadband speeds, security and cybersecurity policies, VPN access, and access to your network. You’ll also want to make sure your work from home policy has a provision on keeping track of hardware that’s taken home with your remote team. The last thing you want to happen is to invest $50k on hardware only to have most of it go missing.
Final Myth: Expecting remote workers to be at their desks, instantly available.
As productivity goes up and more work is done it becomes important to take breaks. One of the most important things a remote worker can do is set up their office entirely separate from the rest of their home, if possible. This means no working from bed or the sofa! They need to decide with their managers on available times to talk over video, collaborate via chat, and what times are important to grab a break, some coffee, and food. This is very important if they are working in a different time zone, as an on-site employee may think he needs something done at 3pm and it’s a reasonable request but actually it’s already 11pm for the remote worker. Those who work from home won’t be readily available, just like on-site team members won’t be either. Setting the right expectations will be important.